Kuwait’s First Solar Power Plant Becomes Operational

solar-panel

Kuwait officially the State of Kuwait (Dawlat al-Kuwait), a country in Western Asia has a very high-income economy which is backed by its oil reserves. It has the world’s sixth-largest oil reserves. The Kuwaiti dinar is the highest valued currency in the world.Primary energy use in the year 2009 in Kuwait was 351 TWh and 125 TWh per million persons.

With such high per capita income and the rise in industries from various sectors, the Electricity and Water ministry of Kuwait in its forecast last year estimated that demand would reach 30,000MW per day by 2030. Simultaneously Kuwait also announced its plans last year to generate 15% of its energy needs via renewable sources by 2030.

In lieu of this plan, Kuwait is marching towards the target of renewable energy. Kuwait has inaugurated its first ever solar power plant in last week of October 2016. The Kuwaiti government says this step is taken to meet the rising energy demands of the country. The 30-million Kuwaiti dinar ($A130 million) project, Sidrah 500, located at the Umm Gudair oil field, will produce 10 megawatts (MW) of electricity, half of this will be supplied to the public electricity network and the other half will be used to supply the oil field itself.  This oil field is owned by Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), which is a subsidiary of state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC). Kuwait Oil Company has set a target for itself that, by the year 2020, 20% of the electricity which will be needed to run KOC will be generated from alternative energy sources.

The opening of this solar power plant clearly shows increased interest and realization about the renewable / alternative energy sources even in an oil rich country like Kuwait and across the Gulf region in recent years.  The scale of the consumption challenge has become clear to this region. The Government run Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) has signed a contract in the year 2015 with Spain’s TSK to establish the country’s first solar thermal energy plant, it will have a planned production capacity of 50 MW. The Ministry of Electricity and Water and KISR have agreed on the establishment of a solar power station in Al-Shaqaya area with a total capacity of 70 MW per hour – called as Shaqaya initiative.  The institute’s Shaqaya initiative is also planning solar and wind projects in the northwest of the country.

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